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“Familial Responsibilities”
By: Roswell the Final Chapter
Edited by: Roswell the Final Chapter

 

[October 20, 2003]

 If you have been reading my journal, then you should remember the basic history of our existence.  Well, of my life at least.  We've been chased by the FBI special unit and pursued by a leader of Kivar's Antarvian army.  Tess had Max's baby and died trying to keep all of us safe from the FBI.  Max sent his son away to be adopted in the hope of protecting him from the daily chaos that seems to run our lives.  The very same chaos that forced us to be on the run for nearly two years before we felt we could return to Roswell again without high powered sniper rifles pointed at us.  I found my half-sister Serena- on our paternal side- and her mother's journal.  She and Kyle seem to be in a serious relationship now.  We have been and still are spied on by people on both enemy fronts.  Michael messed up Maria's mind and Calypso tried to help him put it back together again.  Maria is a few days away from giving birth to hers and Michael's first baby. 

Those events are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  After everything we faced so far, I thought we would be ready for what happened next.  At a time when we needed to focus our combined energies on finding weaknesses in our enemies and confronting agent Dimitri for letting the Deluca house be attacked by his supposedly renegade agents, we were thrown for a loop.  An event that should have gone smoothly jilted all of our best laid plans.  Worse yet, our greatest enemy may have found out about one of great few great weaknesses as a result of said event. 

Still, what recently transpired deserved all the energy we put into it because it too affected our group.  Dynamics within the group changed and I know that we will be stronger for it in the end.  Today is a day we will never forget- it was the greatest distraction we have ever had in our lives.  The storm has not only begun now.  The funnel clouds are out there and a tornado (maybe two) is beginning to take form.  For now, I have written all that can be put on the page ... except one thing.  We are far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I am not completely sure that we will ever see that light again.

 ~.~.~.~

 General Tegra, leader of the royal brigade of Kivar's army, paced back and forth.  Several techinicians sat before their stations within the long console before her, quietly pressing important buttons and turning knobs for the part of the antarvian space ship they maintained.  A large flat screen hung down from the ceiling above them and a most familiar face stared at her from within.  The face of a very impatient Antarvian who she knew would kill her if she ever told him anything he did not want to hear.  In that moment, she did not fear his wrath because she knew him all too well.  She had good news for him that day, the kind of message he would want to hear.

 "Tegra, what is the status of the mission on planet Earth?" the man demanded impatiently.

 "Good my Lord," she said stiffly, "our opportunity is quickly approaching.  General Nicholas is awaiting your orders."

 "Very good," he said calmly, "and what of the other mission?"

 "The target has been located," she told him, "shall I tell them to seize him immediately?"

 "Yes," he said confidently, "and I want him brought directly to me unharmed.  Is that clear?"

 "Yes sir," General Tegra replied, "commencing with the message right now.  What are your orders for General Nicholas?"

 "I will give them after the target has been captured," he replied.

 "He will be very impatient my Lord," Tegra tried, knowing she was right, but he wouldn't hear her.

 "The timing for our attack must be perfect.  Contact me when we have the target."

 The picture on the screen became fuzzy for a moment and quickly turned black.  General Tegra continued to pace on the bridge.  Lord Kivar's attack seemed half-cocked and she sensed that there was no stopping him.  He would kill her if she tried.  Her thoughts of his plan were deterred when the screen lit up again and another Antarvian stared at her impatiently.  She scowled for a moment before turning to face him.  After the finest military training her world had to offer, Kivar gave her the rank of General, but she felt like nothing more than a mere messenger.  The job could have been worse, however, and her family appreciated the money she was able to send them.  She kept her job because of her family.  She couldn't let them down.

 ~.~.~.~

 Maria sat slouched in the backseat of Diane Evan's silver Honda in an attempt to feel more comfortable.  Her back was aching again because she pregancy was ending.  In the last week she found sitting to be an increasingly difficult way to comfort her swollen ankles because her back found little pleasure with a baby weighing on her mid-section.  In that moment, in the backseat next to Isabel, she couldn't imagine feeling any less at ease. 

 On that particular morning, she blamed most of her discomfort on the fact that she and her family were attacked while they were still asleep.  She thought about the events that transpired only a couple hours ago in order to forget her nagging back pain.  In the beginning, at least, she found a little comfort.  After all, she started out curled up in bed beside Michael, having a wonderful dream about the joys of parenthood with him.  In that moment, she actually felt happy ... until glass shattered, ripping her out of a perfectly peaceful morning. 

 Heavy footsteps pounded along the carpeted hallway and a door swung open with a loud crack.  Maria awoke startled and confused.  The bed shook violently and she could hear Michael gasp loudly.  Light suddenly filled the room and an eerily familiar scream suddenly entered her ears.  She thought of her mom and of Michael, completely unaware of how well they were trying to defend themselves.  Her gut insisted that everyone was in mortal danger and she wanted to protect them. 

 Maria’s eyes, having yet to open, remained clenched shut.  She simply sensed the entities in the room and knew exactly where Michael was standing.  A gun cocked and moments later another followed suit.  Her fists clenched, her body began to tremble and she felt her power building up within.

 “Michael,” she said softly, her voice trembling slightly.

 “I’m here,” he replied calmly.

 Maria heard her mom suddenly yell in high screechy tones, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" and moments later she added worriedly, "Maria, are you okay?”

 “Yes, but stay out mom!” Maria shouted at her shakily, “and stand back!”

 Another gun cocked while Maria had been shouting.  She didn't realize it at first; her power hummed loudly in her ears.  Her mind filled with worry for her mom and for Michael.  The weapons aimed at her seemed to be the least of her worries and she knew that Michael noticed how distracted she had become in a matter of seconds.

 “Maria,” Michael said, his voice shaking ever so slightly.

 Maria opened her eyes and looked at Michael briefly before eyeing one of the masked men who was aiming his gun at her.  Her mom, who continued to yell and scream suddenly became silent.  Moments later, another set of footsteps entered the room and she listened for a sign, wanting the right moment to unleash whatever powers she could at the intruders.

 “Well done gentlemen,” a cold calm deep male voice suddenly spoke up.

 “Where is my mom?” Maria demanded, glaring at the owner of the voice, “what have you done with her?”

 “Oh please, she’s fine,” he said sarcastically, “just out cold for a while.”

 “What do you want from us?” Michael prodded calmly.

 “According to our intel, you are a threat to national security.  Being a real alien, we can’t exactly deport you.  The next best solution is, you die,” the man explained smugly, “and my best men have already taken aim.  Agents, you may fire when ready.”

 Maria felt infuriated and her fists unclenched.  Her power unleashed itself; her heartbeat racing against the humming in her ears.  Two of the three agents collapsed unconsciously onto the floor and the other dropped his gun before running out of the room.  Michael disabled the man who seemed to be in charge and Maria thought all was well again until he looked at her with fear in his eyes.  Before she could react, the glass of her bedroom window shattered.  Pieces of glass flew by her and she ducked while Michael leapt onto the bed to protect her.  Another body collapsed with a loud quick series of thumps onto the floor nearby.  Maria lifted her head and looked toward the window.  Rath pushed himself through the now open portal, his eyes fixed on her alone.

 “What the-” she heard Michael gasp beside her.

 “Babe, don't worry about him," Maria sighed wearily to Michael, “He won't hurt us.”

 “You don't know that,” Michael responded as though he knew he was right, “ he works for the enemy.”

 Maria knew Michael was wrong, at least where she was concerned.  Rath would never hurt her; not when Calypso remained inside her head.  Her only problem was that both of them were in the room.  Although she wanted to comfort Michael, Calypso wanted her to comfort Rath.  In fact, she had to fight Calypso's grasp in order to tear her gaze away from Rath and back to the one she really loved.

 “Michael,” Maria said to him after she took her eyes off of Rath who was trying to carry unconscious agents over to the window, “my mom.  We have to check on her.”

 Thrust back into reality by a bump in the road, Maria glanced at Isabel who regarded her worriedly.  She figured that she must have looked like a complete mess after having no time to freshen up before Michael insisted that she go with Liz and Isabel to the Crashdown.  He wanted to know that she was safe while he and the others tried to help her mom clean up the house.  Maria would have insisted on staying if her back hadn't been killing her.

 "You look pale," Isabel pointed out, "are you okay?"

 "Yep," Maria sighed, "just pregnant."

 "Are you sure?" Liz prodded from the driver's seat.

 "Well, my ankles are swollen, my back aches almost all the time and I had terrible indigestion last night," Maria admitted unhappily, "other than that I'm just fine."

 Frustrated from the pain, Maria tried to take a deep breath.  The task proved more difficult than she anticipated because the backseat seemed to spin for a moment and she realized that her hands were shaking slightly.  She clenched her fingers together for a moment, wanting to hide the shaking from Isabel, but was not convinced that she succeeded.

 "No you're not," Isabel said with a voice full of concern, "your hands are shaking."

 "No," Maria insisted, although her voice wavered for a moment, "it's just that I- er- Calypso rather- used her powers to protect us this morning.  My hands have been shaking ever since."

 "Is that normal for you?" Isabel prodded gently while Liz parked the car in the Crashdown parking lot.

 "I'm pregnant, Iz," she sighed shakily, "nothing has been normal for me."

 "I don't like it," Liz said after she opened Maria's car door for her, "and it's probably just a manifestation of stress from this morning, but it can't be good for you or the baby.  Can we help you out of the car?"

 "I would appreciate that," Maria said gratefully, "I need to go lay down."

 "Yeah, well we can arrange that," Liz assured her, "let's go."

 Maria nodded and swung her feet clumsily out of the car.  She found it difficult to maneuver herself with a baby inside her and the pain in her back, but Liz helped her out.  Isabel grabbed her other hand as soon as she felt herself sliding out of the car.  When her feet hit the ground with a slight bounce she gasped.  The pain in her back seemed to have renewed itself when she stood up straight and the baby kicked. 

 "I'm fine," she assured them while she patted her abdomen before grabbing Liz's hand again, "just the baby kicking me again."

 They nodded, but she knew they were skeptical.  She was due to have the baby any day now and everyone expected the labor pains to start any second.  Fearful of the impending pain of contractions, Maria tried not to think about the end of her pregnancy.  She kept telling herself not to worry and she kept telling the others she was fine.  Both statements were true until she entered the Crashdown.

 Mr. Parker was the only one inside and busy preparing the kitchen for their breakfast rush.  Maria glanced at him when the familiar music rang from the door chime.  He waved at them briefly and Maria let go of Isabel to wave back when the pain in her back suddenly let up and returned with twice the intensity.  Her abdomen clenched itself for seconds that felt like hours and her knees suddenly felt weak.  She grabbed Isabel's arm to steady herself and the pain suddenly began to subside just as quickly as it came.  Everyone looked at her while she took a deep breath, which caught in her throat upon the realization that she needed to pee.

 "I need to use the bathroom," she told them urgently, "now."

 She took a couple of steps toward the restroom, but she really needed to go.  The baby kicked again and everything went wrong because she gasped again, which caused her friends to stop helping her toward her destination.  Without warning, everything she had been trying to hold in gushed out, poured down the inside of her legs and partially into her tennis shoes.  For a moment, she tried to look down at the puddle she knew was beneath her and sighed disappointedly.  Her protruding abdomen blocked her view.

 "Maria," Liz said, her voice perfectly calm, "your water just broke."

 "Wha-" Maria began when another wave a pain hit her back and enveloped her abdomen for the first time that day.  She began to double over and grabbed her belly.  Her knees felt weak again, but Liz and Isabel held onto her tightly. 

"We've got you," Liz assured her, "let us know when the contraction stops and we'll help you upstairs."

 "ooh, ow," Maria moaned from the pain and added when the pain began to subside, "call Michael. I need him."

 ~.~.~.~

 Five broken windows, glass everywhere and visible dust floating in the air.  Michael was not happy.  He sent a very shaken up, extremely pregnant Maria away with Liz and Isabel to meet Raeve at the Crashdown so that Maria could relax.  Although he knew she would be okay, he worried anyway.  He hated that Maria had to be put through such added stress only days before her due date- as if he hadn’t been worried enough already about what the pregnancy could do to the one woman he loved above all others in the entire universe.

 Michael felt as though his anger and worry threatened to boil over.  He wanted to help Amy, Max, Hanley and Kyle with the cleaning up efforts, but his emotions seemed to paralyze him for the moment.  He just sat in the middle of everything and tried to keep Maria’s nagging back pain out of his mind.  Actually, he tried to keep any thoughts of Maria out of his mind because he didn’t want to worry about her when he needed to help clean up.  The task proved impossible.  At that moment, all he wanted was to go be with Maria.  Yet, he wanted to be strong.  He wanted to figure out why Rath showed up earlier that morning and why he seemed to disappear after Maria left.  He wanted to do a lot of things, but all his body wanted him to do was observe and breathe. 

“I’m sorry,” a voice suddenly distracted him.  He glanced toward the voice, noticed Xaedon watching him from not more than a foot away and grimaced.  He loathed that his protector was apologizing.

 “I’m sure you are,” Michael replied disbelievingly, “you weren’t here when it happened.”

 “Yeah.  Hence the apology,” he tried.

 “Don’t apologize,” Michael nearly shouted at him, “just … just protect.”

 His protector nodded, sighed angrily and walked over to the couch, where he sat and put his head in his hands.  ‘Great start,’ Michael thought sarcastically, but decided not to bother him.  He seemed to be just as scared and angry as Michael felt.

 Desperate for a distraction, Michael watched Amy tread carefully over a couple unconscious agents on her way to a collapsed china cabinet in the dining room.  A look of determination adorned her face and he grimaced knowing that he would receive the brunt of her anger for the damages the attack had caused.  His presence in their world caused the attack and he wouldn't let Maria's mother attempt to confront the vicious, cold-blooded head of the FBI special unit just because the guy ordered the attack that snuffed out what normalcy they had left.

 Amy picked up two big pieces of what used to be a very ornate porcelain dish; the center piece of the china cabinet.  Michael spotted the tears in her eyes.  She looked at him with sadness and disappointment.

 "This was my great-grandmother's dish," she said unhappily, "a valuable and sentimental family heirloom."

 "I'm sorry," Michael spoke softly, "but, at least we're all okay."

 Amy rested the pieces of china delicately onto the floor and set her unhappy gaze on Michael.  He maintained eye contact, waiting for her to yell and scream at him.  He wanted her to take out her anger on him.  Anything to keep her from hunting down the men who did this with a vengeance.  Unfortunately, she didn’t give him the satisfaction.  She just rolled her eyes and returned her attention to the mess around her.

 “Who should I blame for this attack?” she spoke up a few seconds later without looking at him, “who do I have to threaten for giving my Maria this un-needed stress when she is so very fragile?  Who Michael?  Tell me so I can try to feel better about this.”

 She looked at him then, her green eyes cold with anger and fear.  Michael wanted to tell her the truth.  He opened his mouth to say something, but Max’s cell phone dropped into his lap and he glanced curiously at his friend.

 “It’s Liz,” Max told him, “she wants to talk to you.”

 “Yeah?” Michael said into the phone.

 “Maria’s water broke,” Liz told him calmly, “she wants you to be here.”

 “I’m on my way,” he replied before tossing the phone back to Max and standing up.

 “It’s time,” he said nervously, “I’ll be at the Crashdown if anyone needs me.”

 “Xae, go with him,” Hanley ordered his brother who nodded and moved to follow Michael.

 “Wait,” Amy spoke up worriedly, “I’m coming too.  She needs me too, you know.  Come on, we‘ll take the Jetta.”

 ~.~.~.~

 “Just breathe,” Isabel spoke calmly to Maria.

 Maria did not respond, but Liz knew a contraction probably kept her from forming coherent sentences.  She stopped pacing long enough to take stock of the situation once again.  Every time the pain washed over her friend, every pore in her body seemed to tense up.  Her shoulders would begin to curl up over her ears and her knuckles would turn white from clenching the beige sheets on Liz’s old bed.  The only thing alien about her labor so far was that little glowing handprint shining off of Maria’s belly in between contractions.

 The pain seemed to subside because Maria seemed to be relaxing.  Liz took a deep breath and began to pace again.  She was so deep in thought that she almost jumped when the door flew open and she was relieved to see Michael rushing over to the bed.  Maria looked at him with a smirk, which he returned while he wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow.

 “She’s fine,” Isabel told him reassuringly, “just um, I’m going to be right back.”

 “Thanks,” Michael replied, although he kept his eyes on Maria.

 The little handprint glowed and Michael rested his hand against that place on Maria’s belly.  Maria looked at his hand as if she wanted to see what he was doing.  Liz watched curiously and waited to see what would happen next.

 “The baby was waiting for you,” Maria told him.

 “Maybe,” Michael said softly, his eyes narrowed in uncertainty.

 “Have you ever known me to be wrong?” Maria gasped playfully.

 Liz couldn’t help smiling at them.  She admired Maria in that moment because even after all the pain she was going though, she could still lighten up the moment.  She wished she could have done that, but something else weighed on her mind.  Something besides her concern for Maria’s well being.

 ~.~.~.~

 Outside Liz’s old bedroom, the air seemed tense.  Ava supposed she expected anxiety to mount outside the room, but she never imagined that Xaedon would there.  She watched him deal with the tension in amusement.  Amusement quickly transformed into profound concern.  Xaedon, a protector, seemed out of his element. 

Raeve, who seemed so calm, excused herself to wait for the others inevitable arrival in the café downstairs with Isabel.  Ava expected Xaedon to follow his sister, but he began to pace back and forth instead.  Ten minutes later he sat down beside her on the couch and rested his head in his hands as if he felt defeated.

 “Are you okay?” she spoke gently.

 “Just fine,” he said tersely.

 Ava knew by his clenched fists that he was lying.  Rather than confront him about it and risk pushing him away again, she waited for him to relax.  Calmly, she pulled her knees up to her chest and turned slightly to face him better. Her back rested against one of the smaller pillows and she sighed softly from the comfort her new position gave her.

 “He won’t let anything happen to her,” Ava said confidently, “they’ll be okay.”

 He scoffed and opened his mouth to say something until Amy rushed by with a cup full of ice chips.  She could hear Maria moaning from the pain when Amy opened the door and nervously bit her lower lip again.  She hated the fact that someone she cared about was in pain and she realized that Xaedon probably felt the same way. 

“Raeve seemed so calm,” Ava sighed thoughtfully, “I can’t even pretend to relax.”

 “Rae takes charge,” Xaedon said as if it were known fact, “always has.  Keeps her from feeling scared.”

 “Oh, so, d’you feel scared?” Ava prodded as if she just named his problem.

 “No,” he insisted cooly.

 “I am,” Ava whispered.

 She wondered if Xaedon heard her, but he didn’t move.  Did he even know how to react to her comment?  Ava couldn’t be sure.  All she knew was the way he looked at her the other morning meant something.  Deep down he had to have feelings just like the rest of his family.  Only she couldn’t stop wondering- from the first look he gave her- if he felt something specifically for her.

 ~.~.~.~

 “Here sweetie, I brought you some ice chips so you won’t feel dehydrated,” Amy said, handing a cup toward Maria.  To her surprise, Maria pushed the cup out of her hands with her free hand before resting it atop the hand Michael rested on her abdomen.  Her face tensed up and Amy knew what was happening.  She lived through it once, years before.

 “No ice!” Maria growled.

 “I know you feel that way, but you’ll be glad once you’ve had some.  Isabel will be in here soon with some more,” Amy assured her.

 “Doubtful,” Maria grunted.

 Amy turned her head toward the bedroom door and took a deep breath when Isabel entered.  She handed her cup of ice chips to Michael.  Amy watched him regard Isabel for a moment with gratitude before returning his attention to Maria.  Her latest contraction began to subside and Michael slid an ice chip into her open mouth.  Amy smiled at her daughter who seemed to be savoring the ice chip in her mouth.

 “Iz, any word on Maxwell’s ETA?” Michael spoke up worriedly.

 “I’m not sure, but Liz just went into the kitchen to call him,” Isabel replied, “he should be here soon.  Is she progressing as we expected?”

 “No,” Maria said breathlessly, “this all started too soon and my water broke right before the contractions started.  Unless that is what you expected, I suggest you tell the supposed Dr. Max to get a move on it.”

 Isabel nodded and moved to leave, but Amy wasn’t satisfied.  Michael wasn’t fully human and they didn’t know what to expect.  She wanted answers.  Fast.

 “Should I be worried?” Amy demanded.

 Michael opened his mouth to say something, but Maria shook her head.  Amy looked at her expectantly.  The silence felt unnerving.

 “Mom, no.  It’s not what I hoped for, but we will be fine.”

 “What if the baby-”

 “The baby is fine,” Maria assured her, “don’t worry about the baby.”

 “And you-” Amy tried to continue, but Maria handed her the cup that Michael was holding and attempted a grin.

 “I would really love some more ice chips,” Maria told her, “please.”

 “Okay,” Amy said while she fought to remain calm at the sight of her daughter’s strength though such a stressful time.  She grinned in return and brushed a few loose strands of hair away from Maria’s face.  Her daughter would be fine.  She would try not to worry about anything else.

 ~.~.~.~

 On a rooftop within spying distance, Rath kept an eye on Maria.  His Calypso who he sensed within her before seemed to be hibernating while Maria was in labor.  He had never seen anyone in so much pain before and for some reason, the scene mesmerized him.

 “I don’t care if it’s born yet or not,” Lonnie said from her perch beside him, “I wanna know why Nicholas hasn’t decided to attack in this most vulnerable moment.”

 “I was waiting for a message from our leader,” Nicholas said while he joined them on the roof.

 “and?” Lonnie prodded impatiently.

 “We must wait until exactly the right moment,” he told her, “and he wants to send us back-up.”

 Rath nodded and continued to watch Maria.  Lonnie growled frustrated and ran her fingers haphazardly through her long dark blonde hair.  Nicholas looked at both of them as if he were trying to decide something and then seemed satisfied.

 “Unless I’m wrong,” Nicholas told them, “and I’m never wrong, one of you is a traitor.”

“Not me baby,” Lonnie assured him.

 “No,” Nicholas said while his cold dark eyes locked on Rath’s deep brown orbs, “not you.”

 “Rath,” Lonnie said worriedly, “what’ve you done?”

 “A group of humans attacked Michael Guerin and his pregnant human girlfriend last night,” Nicholas explained, “and Rath ran to their rescue.  Obviously, he can’t be trusted.”

 “Really,” Lonnie spat disbelievingly, her tone cold, “whatcha gonna do about it?”

 “He should be killed,” Nicholas said, “Kivar’s orders actually, not mine.”

 Rath stood up and noticed that Lonnie moved toward him as if trying to protect him, but his trust in her had been waning for the last few months.  He pushed her aside and confronted Nicholas.  His fists clenched and his powers humming inside him.  He glanced at Lonnie before making any moves.

 “You wouldn’t even flinch if he killed me,” he told her, “stop pretending.”

 “You are no threat to me,” Nicholas told him calmly, “I will give you five seconds to vacate the premises before I kill you.”

 After a deep breath, Rath nodded and took the fire escape ladder in order to get off the roof.  The route seemed to be a faster one than trying to find the elevator inside the building.  Besides, he knew that Nicholas wouldn’t expose his powers in broad daylight.  His only problem was that he could only think of one place he wanted to go to next. He just wasn’t sure what to do once he arrived.

 ~.~.~.~

 Liz glanced at Max when he entered the bedroom.  Relief washed over her.  She knew what she was doing, but Maria had been progressing quickly.  They needed Max there for the delivery just incase something were to go wrong.

 “Huh,” Maria gasped tiredly, “about time.”

 “Sorry, traffic was worse than we expected,” Max replied, “how are things in here?”

 “Her contractions are about a minute apart now,” Liz informed him, “and she’s almost completely dilated.”

 “Can I … push … soon?” Maria uttered shakily though a contraction.

 “You need Michael to help you, but yeah, you’re almost ready,” Max replied and added when they looked at him as if he were crazy, “I’ve been reading Serena’s translation of the book.  We found a few notes about alien childbirth in there.”

 “That’s good since her stomach keeps glowing,” Liz pointed out.

 “What do I have to do?” Michael demanded.

 “Make the connection,” Max said, “with Maria.  The rest, we think, is intuitive.”

 “okay,” Michael replied, “thanks I guess.”

 “What does that mean?” Amy spoke up worriedly.

 “It means that they are fine,” Liz assured her.

 She looked at Max again and suddenly changed her mind when the visions flooded back into her mind.  The little boy seemed so scared … and so alone.  His fear nearly overwhelmed her until she remembered where she was and what was happening right in front of her.

 Frustrated by the distraction, she turned her head abruptly and checked on Maria, but the little boy’s face haunted her still.  She needed to tell Max what she was seeing.  She just couldn’t tell him at a time like this.

 ~.~.~.~ 

Minutes felt like hours.  Serena sighed frustrated while she dumped the busboy bucket onto the table top of a dirty booth.  She began to place the dirty dishes into the bucket.  Water from the glasses sloshed around in the bucket.  The silverware clanked against the dishes.  The room seemed to quiet and she felt like she might explode from the tension.

 She pulled a damp cloth out of the cleaning bucket she placed on the seat behind her and began to wipe down the table top.  Two strong, gentle arms suddenly wrapped around her middle and she couldn’t help leaning into him.  He placed a tender kiss on the nape of her neck and she turned around to face him.

 “I’m busy,” she told him, “I need to work.”

 “You need to relax,” he replied just as insistently, “you’re shoulders are up over your ears.”

 “Are not,” she said, “I just can’t help worrying.”

 “You read your mom’s journal,” he reminded her, “there should be nothing to worry about.”

 “Okay, you and Rae are so calm it’s scary,” she pointed out, “these things are known to be unpredictable.  Not to mention that this is the first time it’s happening for most of us.”

 “Are you saying that birth is not an organized process?” Raeve spoke up, “because Antarians have a system.  Couples share an intuition.  Once they both focus on the birth itself, and the love that created it, all will go well.”

 “Well, both of them are at least a hybrid of two life forms.  For humans, birth is painful for the woman and often unpredictable.  Anything could happen,” Serena found herself ranting.

 “Hey,” Kyle interrupted her, “this is Michael and Maria we’re talking about here.  He won’t let anything bad happen to either of them and she won’t let anything bad happen to the baby either.  Buddha says-”

 “There’s no use worrying about something you have no control over,” Isabel spoke up with a grin and added, “or something like that.”

 “Rubbed off on you have I?” Kyle responded, amused.

 “Just a little,” Isabel said teasingly and added, “you do love to talk about that little bald guy a lot.”

 Kyle took mock offense and Serena laughed softly.  She loved how he could lighten up any situation.  Still, she wanted to know that everything really was okay upstairs.  She wished she could help make it happen already.  Solace in Kyle’s optimistic attitude seemed to be her only comfort.  Somehow, that in and of itself, seemed to be enough and Serena began to relax … just a little.

 ~.~.~.~

 Liz hurried into the kitchen for more ice chips and an old dish towel she remembered her mom storing in one of the drawers.  She set the plastic cup on the counter and tried to decide which drawer to open first when she noticed Max standing at the sink, washing his hands.  A far away look adorned his honey brown eyes and she felt concerned.  Did he know his son could be in danger?  She wondered if she should tell him about her visions from the night before, but hesitated again.  She wanted to be sure that the timing was right. 

“Max, are you okay?” she spoke up.

 He jumped slightly and turned to look at her for a moment before turning off the water.  After a moment, he nodded his head and she opened one of the drawers near the sink.  No luck.  She opened the drawer below the one she just closed and rummaged through the towels she found.

 “Why?” Max finally spoke up softly.

 “You had a distant look in your eyes,” she said matter-of-factly and then looked at him with concern in her eyes while she continued, “we haven’t talked much about it, but is this whole thing making you wonder about your son?”

 “I sent him away for his own safety, but lately I’ve had my concerns,” he admitted unhappily, “I had a bad dream a couple nights ago and-”

 “Don’t worry about it now,” she insisted, “Michael and Maria need you.”

 “No,” he replied with a small grin, “they just need you.”

 “Max, you’re the moral support,” she reminded him, “Michael looks up to you, you know that.”

 “Yeah,” Max sighed unhappily, “but he won’t send his own kid away to be adopted.”

 “You said he would be safe,” she reminded him, “you wanted him to have the normal life that you could never give him.”

 “I know,” he replied unsatisfied, “but, I can’t help feeling that I was wrong.”

 “Max, Liz, are you coming back soon?” Amy shouted from the bedroom, “Maria thinks it’s time to push!”

 “We better get back,” Liz told him while she closed the drawer after she found the towel she was looking for, “don’t worry about him right now, Max.  Right now they need us.  That should be all that matters until their baby is born.”

 He nodded and she gave him a reassuring grin before running back to the bedroom.  She knew he would be close behind.  Michael needed him and he was never one to stay away when one of his closest friends were in need.

 ~.~.~.~

 “Maria look at me,” Michael pleaded, “please, for the baby.”

 Maria could barely move her legs into position for pushing, much less concentrate on anything else.  The pain was intense and the contractions were so close together that it didn’t seem to end.  She felt him turn her head toward him and lost herself in his chocolate brown eyes.  His left hand remained on the left side of her face and his right rested on her belly. 

The room seemed to disappear around her; the connection all consuming.  She saw herself in a green meadow near a river.  Michael’s arms wrapped around her from behind and she leaned against him.  The sun shined brightly on them.

 Soft, little footsteps filled her ears briefly and she looked up to see a small child smiling at her.  A little girl, barely four, with Michael’s chocolate brown eyes and the blonde curls that used to be her own.  Maria smiled back and suddenly, the bedroom came rushing back to her.  The pain and the pressure mounted.

 “Push!” Liz urged her, “come on, Maria, it’s time.”

 She turned her head away from Michael and bared down.  Nothing else mattered in that moment except pushing.  She wanted to see her baby, hold her and smell her scent.  Suddenly, she felt part of the baby come out and she instinctively tried to relax.

 “The head,” she heard Liz say excitedly, “the head is out.”

 Maria looked at Michael again and she knew that the connection lingered.  The pain continued and she wanted the baby out, but none of it seemed to register when she looked into Michael’s eyes.  He seemed to be lessening her pain by helping her concentrate on the baby.  She wanted to tell him that she loved him, but the pressure mounted again and she heard Liz say something about pushing.  Mustering all the energy she had left, Maria pushed.  Seconds later, she heard her baby crying and her mom clapped happily.  Michael’s hand lifted from her abdomen and gently squeezed her right hand.  She looked at him and smiled.  Then she turned her head to behold her beautiful baby girl when Liz rested the baby on her chest, wrapped in a towel.

 “Hi,” Maria greeted her softly, “welcome to your family little one.”

 The baby looked at her for a moment and closed her eyes.  Michael gently caressed her little head and she opened her eyes again, this time looking at him.  Maria watched him smile at their baby who, for a brief moment, seemed to smile back.  They were a family now and Maria felt ready for the adventures ahead.  Maria felt happy.

 ~.~.~.~

 “I’m really happy for them,” Liz told Max while they prepared to go to bed.

 “Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them so happy,” Max replied, but Liz could see that he was distracted again.

 “Max, you’re really worried aren’t you,” Liz prodded gently, “I’ve been concerned.  I thought I had a vision, but when you said you had a bad dream I think I-”

 “You had a vision?” Max interrupted her, “of my son?”

 “I think I just saw your bad dream,” she told him and added hesitantly, “you did have one right?”

 Max shook his head and sat beside her on the bed.  She waited calmly for an explanation.  He seemed to be piecing one together in his mind. 

“I did have one, but it didn’t bother me as much as it did when I looked at you earlier today and knew that you saw something.  I was hoping you would have told me when it happened and when you didn’t, I hoped I could sort of coax it out of you,” he told her.

 “If Michael hadn’t called this morning,” she pointed out, “I would have told you then.  After that Maria went into labor and I just knew it would be a bad time to distract you.  Until I realized that you were already distracted.”

“Look, I know my son brings up a sore subject between us,” he said softly, “but I would really like to know what you saw.”

 Liz nodded, clasped his hands with her own and took a deep breath.  She needed to show him what she saw.  It was the only way she knew to tell him without feeling overly emotional about the whole issue.  She closed her eyes  and let the images unfold once again in her mind.

 She’s sees a young boy around 3 or 4, whisked away at a lush green park, where children were playing all around.  A stranger dressed in everyday clothes grabbed the boy, but she doesn’t see a face to go with the large male frame.  All she knows is that the boy does not recognize the stranger.  The smile the young boy wore at the park fades and she sees fear in his widening eyes.

 The sun seems to turn off and Liz sees the boy bound up in a darkened room.  His oceanic blue eyes are covered with a folded bandana, but she can see tear tracks glistening on his cheeks.  He tries to fight the ropes that bind him, to no avail, and someone yells at him to sit still. He stops moving, but his breathing is erratic and his body is shaking with fear and anxiety. 

Liz woke up at this point that last time the vision occurred, but this time she tries to keep it going.  She wants a clue of some kind to tell her who the boy is or even where he might be- anything tangible that could be used to save him.  Fortunately, the vision seems to continue.

 The light in the room disappears for a moment and returns even brighter seconds later.  Another man rushes over to the little boy and his hands glow while he frees the child.  Liz’s heartbeat quickens when she sees the man turn after picking up the boy in his arms.  His face filled with relief while Liz tried to make a mental picture, but he moved quickly and she couldn’t be certain if she was right.

 But her heart knew.

 She opened her eyes and her heart hurt to see the tears in his eyes.  Feeling his pain, she let go of his hands and pulled him into her arms.  She felt terrible, showing him such things and he obviously felt terrible after having seen them.

 “Max, I am so sorry,” she told him when he finally pulled away.

 “I’m still connected to him,” he said while he began to pace, “I knew I felt fear tonight, but I didn’t want to believe it.  I thought he would be safe.”

 “Tess must have lied,” Liz suggested, “he must be developing powers.”

 “Or Kivar wants him captive as a hostage to weaken me,” Max replied worriedly, “he’s just a child.”

 “You’ll save him Max,” Liz assured her, “remember my vision.  It’s you Max, you will save him before it‘s too late.”

 © 2004-2005 Roswell: The Final Chapter. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Any similarities to events, real or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. Roswell: The Final Chapter is in no way affiliated with UPN, the WB, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox, or Jason Katims Productions.

© 2006-2007 Roswell: The Final Chapter. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Any similarities to events, rea
l or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. Roswell: The Final Chapter is in no way affiliated with UPN, the WB, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox, or Jason Katims Productions.